The National Cutting Horse Association is suing a member who made document requests, but wouldn’t sign a confidentiality agreement. The Texas nonprofit is asking for a declaratory judgment and $100,000 relief, despite never releasing any documents to Glory Ann Kurtz.
So what caused the association’s blow up? While unclear, Kurtz, a journalist of more than 30 years, asked questions about how those in charge are operating the organization dedicated to the cutting horse industry. She reports on the sport for her website AllAboutCutting.com.
Court documents state she requested information regarding payments made to NCHA consultant Jim Short who reportedly receives $150,000 a year from the group. She also asked to view affidavits filed regarding the group’s application for Major Event Fund monies for the 2010 NCHA Futurity, 2011 NCHA Super Stakes and 2011 Summer Spectacular.
In early May, the association’s President and Interim Executive Director Ernie Beutenmiller told Kurtz she would need to sign a confidentiality agreement and provide him additional information. “You have stated that your purpose is to copy the records. This is not a valid statement of proper purpose. We request that you provide us with an explanation of why you want to inspect and copy the requested records.”
Texas law allows not only members, but also the public to inspect, review, and copy financial records of nonprofits. There is no mention of a confidentiality agreement in the statutes.
Beutenmiller refers to the Financial Disclosure Policy and Procedures from 2004, which specifies what information is deemed confidential. Kurtz says the information isn’t readily available to members in the NCHA’s rule book.
The suit cites a 2009 judgment for the group after members sought to review its books in Gaughan vs. National Cutting Horse Association. The judgment was affirmed on appeal in 2011.
Kurtz says, “I think it is a frivolous suit and they are trying to harass me.”
She could be the least of the group’s issues. Kurtz tells Rate My Horse PRO she sent a packet regarding NCHA’s alleged legal violations to Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, prior to learning about the suit. One of the documents shows NCHA Executive Director, Craig Morris, is a third owner of RIde-TV, the exclusive internet provider of NCHA Futurity Finals.
Allegations of bid rigging at Western Nationals are also included in her complaint.
We contacted the NCHA, but did not receive a response prior to publishing.
Membership issues and lawsuits are nothing new to the NCHA. In 2012, Alan Steen, who served as the group’s executive director for 11 weeks before quitting, sued the association for fraudulent inducement. He alleged, among other things, that the nonprofit misrepresented or falsified data to the state to receive cash from the Major Events Trust Fund.
A confidential settlement agreement was reached between the parties.